After undergoing surgery to remove diseased sections of the colon, up to 30 percent of patients experience leakage from their sutures, which can cause life-threatening complications. Many efforts are under way to create new tissue glues that can help seal surgical incisions and prevent such complications. Now, a new study from MIT reveals that the effectiveness of such glues hinges on the state of the tissue in which they are being used. The MIT researchers found that a sealant they had previously developed worked much differently in cancerous colon tissue than in colon tissue inflamed with colitis. The finding suggests that for this sealant, or any other kind of biomaterial designed to work inside the human body, scientists must take into account the environment in which the material will be used, instead of using a “one-size-fits-all” approach, according to the researchers. “This paper shows why that mentality is risky,” says Dr. Natalie Artzi, a Research Scientist at MIT’s Institute for Medical Science and Engineering (IMES) and senior author of a paper describing the findings that was published in the January 28, 2015 issue of Science Translational Medicine. The title of this paper is “Regulation of Dendrimer/Dextran Material Performance by Altered Tissue Microenvironment in Inflammation and Neoplasia.” Dr. Artzi is also a Professor at Harvard Medical School and a Researcher at the Harvard-MIT Division for Health Sciences and Technology. In addition, she is Assistant Professor, Department of Anesthesiology, Brigham and Women's Hospital, Harvard Medical School. “We present a new paradigm by which to design and examine materials.
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